How to Install a Board-and-Batten Wall

Give your space a fresh look with this easy-to-install wall treatment.

blue and yellow bedroom

Add texture, style, and sophistication to any room with a DIY board-and-batten wall treatment. You may not recognize the name, but board and batten is a classic type of wainscoting. It blends different sizes of plywood boards and molding to create a chic, textured look.

True board-and-batten is made with vertically installed wide boards and narrow battens fastened over the gaps between the boards. In appearance, board-and-batten siding can look rustic or modern, depending on how rough the lumber is and its finish. The most common arrangement uses 1x10 boards and 1x2 or 1x3 batten. You can also use 1x8 or 1x12 boards and 1x4 battens. To seal out moisture, the boards should be in sound condition and free of open knots, and the battens should lap at least 3/4 inch onto the boards on both sides. Cedar is a good lumber choice because it is soft; harder wood, such as pressure-treated pine, will not seal as well and is more likely to crack.

Board and batten is commonly used in farmhouse style homes, but it also looks well with minimalist, modern, and transitional styles. Get the look in your own home with our easy DIY. We've broken the process down into six easy steps.

Learn How to Install Board and Batten Siding

What You Need

  • Chalk line
  • Drywall mud and skimming tool
  • Boards for base, cap, verticals, and ledge in desired width and depth
  • Desired molding for under ledge
  • Table saw
  • Construction adhesive
  • Nail gun
  • Nails
  • Level
  • Caulk and caulking gun
  • Surfacing paste (we used Spackle) and sandpaper
  • Primer, paint, and paint roller

Step 1: Snap Chalk Line


Snap a chalk line at desired height. For textured walls, skim drywall mud below the line. Let dry.

More Design Ideas for Textured Walls

Step 2: Install Boards


Measure, cut, and install baseboard and cap (the bottom and top horizontal boards, respectively). Next, install the vertical boards, ledge, and molding. Ensure all are level and plumb as you are installing them. Use construction adhesive to glue the pieces to the walls.

Step 3: Secure Boards


Secure the boards with nails as you work, using a nail gun.

Editor's Tip: Don't overnail. Drive in only as many nails as you need to hold the piece of molding firmly against the wall.

Step 4: Attach Ledge


If desired, attach a ledge piece atop the cap board. Use a nail gun to secure it in place.

Step 5: Caulk, Paint, and Prime


Caulk all seams. Spackle nail holes and sand smooth. Then prime walls and boards. When dry, paint upper walls your desired color and paint lower walls and boards white. Let dry.

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